Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The heat wave is over and some questions

For those of you jealous of our summer-like weather last week, don't be.
Our part of Texas is experiencing the worst ice storm in six years. School's out, we're all hanging out, and I assigned my photographer-child (Allie-15) to take a walk around the yard (which she did - in her typical way - in shorts and sweatshirt):








Of course, it will all be gone by this evening, so I suppose you could be jealous of that =)

I was thinking about a couple of comments in the last week or so:

Tammy's question:

1) What's the point of having a domain name instead of using blogspot? Does
this just make it easier to share with others or something?

2) How in the world did you do this???? Can you give us all some
pointers?

Some pluses of having your own domain name are:

(a) Ease in remembering. The shorter the site name, the better. When there are twenty-nine characters in your site name (and especially if there are dashes, underscores, or other special characters), there is a greater chance of making a typo on the url and landing somewhere else. But to me, it just sounds better when it's shorter.

(b) A permanent spot on the web in case you ever change blog hosts, like Blogger or Typepad, or decide to use your own server some day.

2. You can find out if the domain you want is available by using a domain registry like GoDaddy.com. Blogger (owned by Google) also registers domains, and I'm sure you could search to find other domain registries.

I did a search on GoDaddy, and Tammy's blog (stepsinourjourney.com) available for $9.99 per year (and it tells us, cheerfully, "Save $0.70!"). Such a deal!

This is very big business, so if someone owns the domain you want, they may want to charge you through the nose. You can haggle over price and terms or get a similar domain name with an ending such as .biz or .net.

For a fun exercise, you can plug your blog url into website.grader.com. It gives your blog a ranking and some tips to improve it. Right my new domain name (raisingfive.com) has a rank of 51. My old domain (raisingfive.blogspot.com) gets a 92. I need to figure out how to let the world of web-crawlers know: they're the same thing, for crying out loud!
And KC's question:
Why you don't do some sort of advertising on your website? Doesn't google have something to help you make money with it. I'm sure you get your fair share of visitors, it might make you guys a little extra each month!

This is a very good question, and one I've thought about a lot in almost three years of blogging. I do get a fair amount of traffic, and I have had offers from lots of people to do book and product reviews, to advertise their product or service on my blog, or to guest blog on their sites.
I suppose I don't have a really good answer, but a few things come to mind:

1. It is hard enough as it is for me to keep my blogging time in check. Remember my motto:
Live first, blog later
I blog two to three times a week in shorts spurts. I have so many unfinished posts and topics that I want to get to someday and just...can't. I can't imagine taking MORE time, just to try to keep advertisers happy.

2. I blog for the friends. For every post I throw out there, I exchange tons of emails behind the scenes with many of you who have become dear to me over time. Blogging has become the new "back door friendship." If I had to worry about number of hits, page rank and all that, I'm afraid my blogging could quickly turn from heartfelt ministry to blogging to get the most page views. I might also feel I had to censor my topics. I don't want to worry about that.

3. I am a bad liar. I refuse to advertise something I don't REALLY use or recommend, like those people who advertise caffeine-energy drinks. Are we really supposed to believe a professional athlete would put that garbage into their precious bodies? Yeah, right.

4. It's not the purpose of my blog. At least not this blog, anyway. I can wholeheartedly recommend to consumerreports.org's reviews, and they won't try to sell you anything.

This is not to say I have completely shut the door on ANY of this. PLEASE do not think that I think anyone who has advertising on their site has "sold out" in some way. Absolutely not! This is just me, right now.
I do like to keep my options open, however. Who knows...things may change! I may find an awesome sponsor (preferably one that lets me keep, say, a new car), find a product I can't live without, and I'll be come a millionaire, while I'm at it. Not such a bad gig!

I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. What is your experience with advertising, product review, guest blogging, etc.?

7 comments:

Megan@SortaCrunchy said...

First of all - kudos to Allie on the great shots!

Secondly - I just this very week put up my first ever "ad." It's a small text ad in my far sidebar, so not too big of a deal. I made just enough to cover the cost of hosting SortaCrunchy through Typepad. It's not a company I've ever shopped through, but I've also never given any kind of endorsement for them. I do feel kind of like a sell-out, though, after all these years of ad-free blogging. :(

I am not interested (at this time) in delving further into ads for the same reasons you list. Primarily - I do NOT want to have to worry over page hits and stats. The thought of all of that sounds like WORK to me, and I'd like to keep blogging as a happy hobby for now.

Lindsay said...

I love things covered in ice. We had ice/winter mix/snow yesterday and today as well (in VA).

Heather said...

Okay, the reason it is coming up less when through the domain name is that you are using a redirect--Google (which is what everything else is based on) HATES redirects and gives a poorer page rank to those who use a redirect to their site (usually about half what you get if you have everything ON the domain name) so I would assume that page grader would use the same method, which is roughly what it is doing.

We are covered in ice as well but I won't let anyone go out with the camera because it is still raining ice and we live at the top of a hill on all sides, and since we have a foot of snow with a half inch layer of ice on top going outside with camera (without is fine since you can use your hands and arms to balance) would mean a quick trip to the bottom of the hill.

mholgate said...

I was definitely envious of your weather last week. I think we'll have snow (now solid ice) in our back yard until June!

What an incredible wonder of God those ice storms you have are! Just another way God reveals His splendor to us.

"The breath of God produces ice, and the broad waters become frozen. He loads the clouds with moisture; He scatters lightning through them." Job 37:10-11 (Actually, I like that entire chapeter.)

Michele said...

Thanks so much for the advice! I was just wondering about the domain name issue. The pictures are beautiful!

Shanna (Sweetie) Berry said...

Love the pictures...when we lived in Allen, TX my children thought shorts with sweats WAS winter attire with the 30 degree mornings and 60 degree afternoons so much of the year. Chase still does!

The ad issue is always interesting, as are the debates/issues with being sponsored....but I will add, that my blogs are what inspired an author to ask me to become a ghostwriter...and that led to web content writing...and God somehow managed to roll it out into working from home....I personally want the "Personal Friend of Katherine" button for my site....but I suppose we'll have to meet in person first! :)
hugs hugs hugs!
Shanna

Mommahen said...

I, like you, do not see anything wrong with others advertising on their sites, and sometimes I do take time to look over them, but, I have loved feeling as though we're just talking over the fence. It would make me sad if you had to stop that heartfelt ministry to keep up with all of the other stuff.